Twitter is making it easier to hold private conversations on the social network.
If you’d like to open up the lines of communication with your fellow tweeters, Twitter now allows you to accept direct messages from anyone, even if you don’t follow them.
“Previously, if you wanted to send a Direct Message to the ice cream shop down the street about how much you love their salted caramel flavor, you’d have to ask them to follow you first,” senior software engineer Nhu Vuong explained in a blog post.
Now, that ice cream shop can choose to receive DMs from anyonefriend, foe, or followerso a private conversation is a lot easier.
To allow DMs from anyone, iOS users can tap the gear icon in the Me tab; select Settings and tap the appropriate account username. Under privacy, click “Receive Direct Messages from anyone.”
Similarly, Android users can click the overflow icon (three horizontal dots), choose a username, and under other, turn on “Receive Direct Messages from anyone.”
The ice cream shop can then thank you for your kind words and remind you to tell all your friends about their flavors in a reply; Twitter’s update includes the ability to reply to anyone who sends a DM, whether or not they follow you.
Plus, a new Direct Message button can be found on the Android and iPhone app profile pages, moving you one step closer to DMing anyone who looks remotely interesting.
Don’t expect to be privately conversing with Justin Bieber or Beyonce any time soon; it’s unlikely celebrities or other personalities will opt into the program.
In 2011, there were reports that Twitter would let verified accounts receive private messages from users they did not follow, but Twitter shot down those reports, saying that it only extended the option to a “limited number of accounts … in cases where having that capability may be beneficial.”
“We hope these changes help you connect more easilyand directlyon Twitter with the people, causes and businesses you care more about,” Vuong said, adding that unwanted DMs can still be stopped.
The changes are rolling out around the world today. Vuong promised “more in the works” to improve the system, “so that the private side of Twitter is just as fulfilling as the public side.”